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Marvellous Migrants

A birding day out in North Norfolk

Pre-breakfast birding saw us at RSPB Titchwell. As always this wonderful reserve was buzzing with birdlife. Cetti's Warblers gave their loud and distinctive songs in the scrub at the edge of the reedbed. Six Marsh Harriers rose from their roost in the reeds spooking a massive baitball of Starlings into the air. A superb sight against the rising sun beyond the reedbed.

Titchwell RSPB Reserve at dawn

Dawn at RSPB Titchwell

Walking out to the beach produced great views of a Red-throated Diver and eight Common Eider just offshore. Birds were on the move: skeins of Pink-footed and Brent Geese swept in off the North Sea and headed further west. Flocks of waders including large gangs of Bar-tailed Godwits and Sanderling were also passing west.

Thornham Pinks 2

Pink-footed Geese

Walking back towards the lagoons, two Lapland Buntings flew up from the marsh and passed overhead calling repeatedly. The lagoons themselves played host to a marvellous selection of birds. Amongst the waders were a Little Stint and three Curlew Sandpipers. Wildfowl included gangs of dark-bellied Brent Geese coming in for a welcome drink of fresh water and hundreds of newly-arrived Wigeon. Back towards the visitor centre and two Whinchats popped up on a fenceline and showed off nicely. The trees between the visitor centre and the car park held two very vocal Yellow-browed Warblers, really a thrill to see these scarce migrants all the way from Siberia. It was also good to see Paul Eele, the RSPB site manager at Titchwell, a top bloke!

Cley Brents

Dark-bellied Brent Geese

Back to the hotel for a very welcome and delicious cooked breakfast before we headed out again east along the North Norfolk coast to Cley Marshes NWT reserve. From the visitor centre we enjoyed the superb vista of the lagoons and reedbeds. Permits obtained, we headed off to visit the hides. The light was superb with the sun behind us so we soaked up the views of waders and wildfowl.

Two juvenile Little Stints and a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper were perhaps the highlights but Golden Plover, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and Common Snipe all looked stunning in the autumn light. A Peregrine Falcon caused panic across the reserve as it hurtled back and forth over the pools.

Black tailed Godwit Sept Cley

Black-tailed Godwit at Cley

Later in the day we visited Holme NWT reserve where we again enjoyed stunning views of hunting Marsh Harriers and another Peregrine Falcon again putting on a magnificent aerial display.


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